Pembroke: Costly illness

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The Independent Online
It seems that being a jury member does not guarantee you speedy medical attention, even if you are struck down mid-way through a long and expensive fraud trial.

The jury considering the fate of three former directors of Homes Assured, the firm set up to help council house tenants to buy their homes and which collapsed with pounds 10m of debts in 1989, was despatched to a hotel for a second night after a two-hour delay in getting medical attention for one of the jury. The juror had come over poorly with a chest infection at the High Court in London.

'I can only say I am very glad none of you are seriously ill because we have had the most enormous trouble trying to raise a doctor,' said a singularly unimpressed Judge John Rogers.

The cost of the delay, in a trial that has already cost pounds 2.5m and taken four months, was estimated at pounds 10,000. The trial will continue today, jurors' health permitting.

Shake-up in TV-land where the departure of Michael Pilsworth, managing director of SelecTV to Chris Wright's Chrysalis Group, consolidates Allan McKeown's position at the top of the Birds of a Feather and Lovejoy company.

Mr McKeown, who is married to the actress Tracey Ullman, saw off a boardroom coup from the Los Angeles-based chairman Michael Buckley in March and now appears to be taking a firmer grip on SelecTV.

Mr Pilsworth is likely to expand Chysalis's programming range, which concentrates on sports programmes such as Italian football. But don't hold your breath. He's gone off for a tennis holiday in Spain.

The late Malcolm Forbes would have approved, apparently. We learn from Christies, the auctioneers, that an art collection, once owned by the billionaire publisher who died in 1990, is to go under the hammer in New York in October.

The works in question are housed in Forbes's palace in Tangiers, the Moroccan venue for his famed 70th birthday party in 1989. This, you may recall, was the night when 700 guests jetted in, Robert Maxwell dressed as an over-sized Arabian knight and the champagne ran out at 8.30pm.

Expected to sell for between dollars 2m and dollars 3m, the Orientalist collection features harem scenes and snake charmers.

The Forbes family is not shedding any tears over the sale. 'Pop didn't believe in keeping something forever,' says Malcolm Forbes Jnr, Forbes editor-in-chief.

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